3rd July Les Andelys - Auberge de Courpain
7.07.06 by Buffalo Bill
July 3rd Les Andelys – Auberge de Courpain, Etampes 150km
Got a reminder today that I have not done nearly enough miles this year to even think about riding hard. I had been expecting some aches and pains, and was not surprised that my arse felt ‘like I had been f&cked by a thousand monkeys’, as Krzys put during our ride to Basel last year. But my left Achilles began to hurt after about 70k. I ignored it at first, but the pain became more and more insistent. I had dreamt of averaging close to 200k a day, but I was beginning to think that 150k would be more likely.
Riding through Rambouillet and south through the departement of Yvelines, I ended up on this dual carriage-way. Not very nice. Some of the driving was pretty unpleasant also, and was a shock to me after the scrupulous courteousness of the drivers in Normandy. Passing at 5 cm (any closer and you would need a condom, you f&cking w£nker), over-taking and then immediately turning across my path (better luck next time, moron). A style that I have come to know and love in London, but an unpleasant and unwelcome surprise in the land where the bicycle is supposed to be Queen (the French call the bike “la Petite Reine” – the Little Queen).
I stopped at le Café de la Poste, Dourdan and had a cheap meal and a chat about French chauvinism with the patron. First friendly and open face I have seen so far. Beginning to get lonely, and starting to talk to myself out loud on the road. My broken heart is aching, and my head hurts from trying to work out what on earth I will do next.
By the time I reached Etampes, a nasty collection of car parks and boxy retail out-lets nicely divided by the main road from Paris, I was really suffering. I did not want to stay in a box in a car park in Etampes, no matter how good the air-conditioning might be, so I decided to follow the signs for a hotel “10 mns” out of town. I tried to work out how far this might be. 10k? 15k? The signs pointed me to a brand-new road up a hill, which feautured an inside lane for slow-moving vehicles. In the bottom gear (30 – 32), I was rolling at 7k/hour, which made the Long-Haul an incredibly slow moving vehicle. At 7k/hr, if it was 15k to the Hotel, it would take 2 hours to get there. I looked up, and my morale was crushed by a sign indicating a speed limit of 70k, or 10 times my current speed.
In the end, “10 mns” was around 10k, or 40 minutes. I iced my Achilles on arrival and hoped for the best.
This is the third part of my journey in France, ‘Looking for Km 83’